Mining makes up a large part of our industry here in America. Natural gas, petroleum, and coal, sulfur, and gravel are all examples of minerals and resources we mined in our country. Mines prove useful from a few years to a few decades, but what happens after a mine is closed? [bctt tweet=”Federal laws and state agencies have regulations on the correct way to close, decommission, and remediate a mine.” via=”no”] Mine reclamation is a process that all mines must undertake when they are no longer functioning.
Mine Closure & Reclamation
It might not surprise you, but properly closing up a mine is a time-consuming process and could take years to complete. This is especially true if long-term water treatment or monitoring is necessary. When closing a mine, the following steps need to be taken:
- Shutting Down: Once all production has ended, contractors will remain to remove equipment and shut down operations.
- Decommissioning: Parts and equipment are removed and cleaned, pipelines are drained, structures and buildings are demolished, and waste is removed from the site.
- Reclamation/Remediation: This long process is designed to return the land to a satisfactory standard and to ensure that close by water sources have acceptable water quality. Reclamation workers need to remove hazardous materials from the site, as well as surrounding trees, grasses, and topsoil.
- Post-Closure: After closing, continuous monitoring needs to be in place to show whether reclamation processes were successful. This long-term maintenance process might involve treatment of mine discharge water, and occasional monitoring of the effects of the residues left behind.
As one would imagine, many mines are below the groundwater level and they can affect groundwater if not properly treated. These mines need to be dewatered in order to prevent operational problems or contaminated water. For a successful mine dewatering operation, it is imperative to set in place groundwater control strategies like pit or mine pumping, and perimeter dewatering to catch lateral groundwater flow to lower levels. Utilizing an Aqua–Barrier® inflatable cofferdam can make your mine dewatering safer, as well as more cost-effective.
Decommissioned Mines and Reclamation Programs
Mine reclamation can be easier with the proper tools like mini-excavators, dredgers, and inflatable cofferdams, especially when you are working below groundwater level. It takes a lot of work and planning to properly decommission a mine, so make sure to learn and follow your state and federal laws pertaining to the process.
Contact us to learn more about mine reclamation and dewatering.